Born: May 9, 1948 Primary Instrument: Piano
Tania Maria - Pianist, Singer, Composer, Arranger, Bandleader
Internationally renowned for her exhilarating vocals and keyboard artistry, Tania Maria's music is a stylish combination of jazz, funk, Afro-Cuban elements, and the popular music of her native Brazil. She has created an eclectic fusion that is her own unique brand of jazz and appeals to audiences around the world. Maria’s raw alto has set her apart in the jazz world, her voice sounding sometimes bossa songstress, sometimes Brazilian soul singer.
Tania Maria was born in Sao Luis in the north of Brazil, in the heart of a family who practiced music with great enthusiasm. She quickly became sensitive to Brazilian tempo and rhythm. Beginning the piano at the age of 7, she finds herself six years later as the leader of a band who wins first prize in a local contest. She developed her own masterful synthesis of what she heard an effervescent style of piano work and rapid-tongued vocals in arrangements that fuse Brazilian rhythms and Caribbean salsa with the improvised expression that is the heart of American jazz.
Although 6 years of classical study underlie her solid piano technique, Tania Maria's highly praised vocal skills came naturally, I'm Brazilian, she says, and singing is the greatest tradition we have!. Well known for ebullient scat singing, she identifies herself primarily as a pianist. I play percussion on my piano, she explains, rather than smooth runs up and down scales. And she often scats in unison or harmony with the notes that flow from her touch, soaring beyond the constraints of words.
Tania Maria's first album “Olha Quem Chega,” was released in Brazil in 1971, but it was a move to France in the late 1970’s that exploded Tania onto the international scene, bringing her to the attention of Concord Records. At a concert in Australia, her formidable musical precision and freewheeling spirit caught the attention of the late American guitarist, Charlie Byrd, who recommended her to the late Carl Jefferson, founder of Concord Records.
A move to New York followed and in 1983 she released the album “Come with Me” on Concord Records. The title track of which became a huge international smash hit, and is still played in soul and jazz clubs all over Europe, Japan and America. Tania is an extraordinary improviser best known for her fiery interpretation of Brazilian, Afro-Latin, Pop and Jazz Fusion, in a style that is uniquely her own. Tania has played virtually every important Jazz Festival in the world and has appeared on countless television and radio programs.
Well established as an international veteran, with over twenty five albums out as leader, Tania has most recently entered a particularly productive period in her career, as evidenced on 2000's “Viva Brazil,” 2002's “Live At The Blue Note,” and 2003's “Outrageously Wild.”
These records were for Concord, but she has since signed on with other labels and has recently released “Intimidade,” on Blue Note, in 2006.This is the work of a mature, talented artist who's been around long enough to know how to make everything she does sound near perfect.